Cavani keeps Napoli on trail


MILAN – Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick as Napoli came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Lazio 4-3 and cling on to their Serie A title hopes. Napoli moved up to second and trail leaders AC Milan by just three points after their 3-0 derby victory over Inter Milan, third at five points, on Saturday.
Goals from Stefano Mauri and Andre Dias gave Lazio a two-goal lead before Andrea Dossena and Cavani, with his first, levelled matters. A Salvatore Aronica own goal put the visitors back in front but Cavani, from the penalty spot, equalised and then hit a splendid winner for Walter Mazzarri’s team. The game wasn’t without controversy, though, as Cristian Brocchi had a perfectly good goal for Lazio disallowed and the visitors also finished with 10-men as Giuseppe Biava was very harshly dismissed in giving away the penalty.
Despite the three points, title talk was still off the table for Napoli. “Our behaviour is always the same, we try to win every game and to do our best and the points will be counted up at the end of the season,” the hat-trick hero told Sky Sport. “That’s the right way to behave and we’re happy because we deserved to win. “Lazio are a great team, we know what our limits are but we tried to do our best and now we’ll celebrate.”
The defeat hit Lazio’s own Champions League hopes as a win for Udinese later on Sunday would leave them five points off the top four. After some ineffective probing, Napoli created the first clear chance on 22 minutes with Ezequiel Lavezzi playing Marek Hamsik down the inside right channel but goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was equal to his near post shot.
But on 29 minutes the visitors took a shock lead as Mauri luckily bundled past Michele Pazienza, beat Paolo Cannavaro and then with the outside of his left boot somehow slipped the ball past Morgan De Sanctis.
Moments later Brocchi played Mauri in behind the dithering Napoli defence but this time he hooked the ball past the far post with his right. Napoli came back at Lazio but Dossena headed over at the back post from Christian Maggio’s cross.